German soldiers at the Sestokai railway station, west of Vilnius, Lithuania, Feb. 24, 2017 (AP photo by Mindaugas Kulbis).

Editor’s Note: This is the first in an ongoing WPR series about NATO members’ contributions to and relationships with the alliance. In February, a battalion of 1,000 NATO soldiers arrived in Lithuania, the first of a series of deployments in Eastern Europe that come as a response to the threat posed by Russia. According to Reuters, the battalion is led by Germany and also includes soldiers from Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway and Luxembourg. In an email interview, Agnia Grigas, nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council and the author of books including “Beyond Crimea: The New Russian Empire,” discusses Lithuania’s […]

Workers from state hospitals scuffle with the police as they try to break a blockade outside Greece's Finance Ministry, Athens, March 15, 2017 (AP photo by Yorgos Karahalis).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series about workers’ rights in various countries around the world. Throughout Greece’s economic crisis, workers’ rights have been a sticking point in bailout negotiations, with creditors pushing for reforms that increase flexibility in the labor market. In an email interview, Dimitri A. Sotiropoulos, an associate professor of political science at the University of Athens, discusses how the crisis has affected workers’ rights, what further reforms might be on the way and the extent to which the actions of organized labor have been helpful or harmful. WPR: What has been the […]

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and Chinese President Xi Jinping during a signing ceremony, Beijing, Dec. 23, 2014 (AP photo by Greg Baker).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series about China’s One Belt, One Road infrastructure initiative, also known as the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. China has been a consistent partner for Egypt despite the latter’s years of instability going back to the Arab uprisings of 2011. It should come as no surprise, then, that Egypt is part of Beijing’s ambitious One Belt, One Road initiative. In an email interview, Kyle Haddad-Fonda, an expert on China’s relations with the Arab world, explains how Egypt’s role in OBOR shows that the initiative […]

Benin President Patrice Talon addresses the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly, New York, Sept. 22, 2016 (AP photo by Richard Drew).

When he was sworn in as Benin’s president a year ago today, Patrice Talon, a business mogul known as the “king of cotton,” vowed to serve only one term and said he would try to enshrine that limit into law. On a continent where multiple presidents, from Burundi to Burkina Faso and beyond, have attempted with varying success to circumvent constitutionally imposed term limits in recent years, Talon’s promise—and his warnings about the complacency of long-serving leaders—set him apart as someone with potentially stronger democratic credentials. This week, however, Talon’s ability to make good on that promise was dealt a […]

King Salman of Saudi Arabia and Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, seated, attend a prayer with regional leaders, Hafr al-Batin, Saudi Arabia, March 11, 2016 (Sipa photo via AP Images).

Sudan and Saudi Arabia are currently holding a joint air force drill that reportedly involves hundreds of air force personnel from both countries. It is the first such drill since Sudan joined the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen in 2015. In an email interview, Alex de Waal, a Sudan expert and research professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, explains how ties have developed between the two countries and why both sides approach the relationship with caution. WPR: Historically, what has been the nature of ties between Saudi Arabia and Sudan, and how have they evolved […]

A Buddhist monk and villagers argue with police officers during a protest outside the inauguration ceremony of an industrial zone, Ambalantota, Hambantota district, Sri Lanka, Jan. 7, 2017 (AP photo by Eranga Jayawardena).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series about China’s One Belt, One Road infrastructure initiative, also known as the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. Under former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka was an eager player in China’s One Belt, One Road initiative, hoping to use Chinese capital to execute a massive postwar infrastructure upgrade. But OBOR has run into a number of problems in Sri Lanka. The country has reportedly borrowed more than $6 billion for infrastructure projects, mostly from China, and officials now say the loans are too expensive. […]

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, foreign minister for the United Arab Emirates, talks with his Brazilian counterpart, Aloysio Nunes, during a signing ceremony on his recent South America trip, Brasilia, March 16, 2017 (AP photo by Eraldo Peres).

On a recent visit to Buenos Aires, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, foreign affairs minister for the United Arab Emirates, signed several agreements with his Argentinian counterpart, Susana Mabel Malcorra, while talking enthusiastically about the potential for the two countries “to enhance cooperation, explore opportunities and overcome challenges” as they continue to develop their relationship. Yet attempts to deepen ties between Latin American and Gulf countries have long run into geographic, political and cultural obstacles. In an email interview, Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, discusses the slow process of trying to bring the two regions closer together. […]

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